Unemployment Compensation for Ex-servicemembers (UCX)Updated: July 19, 2022
If you are a former member of the U.S. military, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits through the Unemployment Compensation for Ex-servicemembers program.
Each state administers this unemployment insurance program as agents of the federal government.
Military members don’t pay into unemployment insurance protection through payroll deductions. Instead, “military branches reimburse state agencies dollar-for-dollar for all UCX benefits paid,” according to the Department of Labor’s fact sheet on the Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers program.”
Who Is Eligible for UCX?
You may be eligible for benefits if you meet the following criteria, according to the Department of Labor:
You served on active duty in a U.S. military branch or served as a commissioned officer of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) during the base period of your claim.
- You were honorably discharged.
- You completed the first full term of service for which you enlisted. Or, if you’re a reserve service member, you completed 180 days of continuous active duty.
- You meet all other state eligibility requirements.
If you want to apply for this unemployment benefit, you must file from the state you reside in.
Each state has different application requirements. Check with your local labor or employment office to find out what you need to do.
You can also check out CareerOneStop, a Department of Labor website to help job seekers find resources. It includes veteran-specific transition and employment resources, as well as links to general information about the unemployment insurance program.
How Do I Apply for Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX)?
UCX application procedures and eligibility requirements may vary by state because the federal government leans on the states to administer the program.
You can learn how to file online or by phone in each state on the CareerOneStop website.
Some states may not provide unemployment compensation if you’re drawing retirement pay. Others may reduce your unemployment benefit based on the amount of your military pension.
Check with your state’s employment office for details.
Where Do I Apply for Unemployment Compensation After Leaving Military Service?
Your state’s employment office will have the necessary forms and instructions to apply for UCX.
CareerOneStop features a search tool that can help you find the state unemployment office nearest you.
What You Should Know About UCX
The Department of Labor’s UCX fact sheet provides general information about the program.
However, details such as the weekly benefit amount and the number of weeks you may receive the benefit vary by state.
The general guideline for the weekly benefit calculation, according to the fact sheet, “is based on the individual’s earnings during a base period defined by the applicable state law. Your pay grade prior to applying for UCX will determine your base period wages, according to a ‘Schedule of Remuneration’ that outlines pay rates for various pay grades.”
The UCX program can be challenging to find on some state employment websites. Begin your search by typing “military unemployment” in the website’s search section where applicable. You may be redirected to your state’s veteran services office.
If possible, download a copy of your state’s unemployment benefits handbook. State unemployment handbooks and regulations may contain specific information on available military and veteran programs.
Double-check your unemployment application before you send it. Mistakes can delay your benefits. If you have questions, contact your local unemployment office or applicant hotline for assistance.
VA Programs for Unemployed Veterans
You may also be eligible for the Personalized Career Planning and Guidance Program, which includes career and educational counseling, resume support and help with goal planning.
According to the VA fact sheet on the program, eligibility extends to:
- Transitioning service members six months prior to separation
- Veterans within one year of separation
- Veterans and beneficiaries eligible for VA education benefits
You must apply for these benefits on the VA website, by mail or in person at a VA regional office or a VetSuccess on Campus office.
To apply by mail, complete VA Form 28-8832 and send it to VBA Claims Intake Center, P.O. Box 5210, Janesville WI 53547-5210.
Jim spent 22 years on active duty, climbing the ranks from Airman Basic to a decorated Air Force Major. Stationed all over the world, he held many high-level posts, including Chief of Foreign Military Sales at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Jim earned his Ph.D. through the Montgomery Era GI Bill and spent 13 years teaching African Studies in Pennsylvania. Jim is also an award-winning travel writer.